BLUE MONDAY FOR I-70 TRAVELERS
Gypsum—I-70 was closed in both directions early this morning when a semi overturned near Gypsum. Highway Six is open but officials with C-DOT and the Colorado State Patrol say the the interstate will not reopen until late this afternoon. The icy roads and mixture of freezing rain and light snow have created challenging driving conditions from Glenwood Springs to Grand Junction. The high winds have also raised the avalanche danger in the mountains closing Loveland Pass. On the Front Range, high winds blew over some large vehicles near Colorado Springs and power was knocked out in several communities. With occasional 90 mile an hour wind gusts, flights out of Denver International Airport will be delayed. More snow is forecast this week in the mountains.
SMALL PLANE FORCED TO LAND ON FLAT TOPS
Rifle—The pilot of a small plane and his passenger made an emergency landing in the Flat Tops wilderness over the weekend and lived to tell about it. According to reports from the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, the pair landed near McGinnis Lake on Saturday and were able to alert authorities and communicate with other pilots after the rough landing. The two were eventually picked up by helicopter. Authorities are investigating the cause of the emergency landing.
Glenwood Springs—Tomorrow, John Martin will take the oath of office for the sixth and final time as Garfield County Commissioner. The Commission Chairman will be sworn in by Judge James Boyd at the county administration building at 9:30 along with Commissioner Mike Samson. Samson was unopposed in the general election while Martin handily defeated Democrat challenger John Acha following a contentious, controversial campaign. Acha and his supporters accused Martin of misappropriating funds among other things. Martin says he’s ready to move forward with county business but is unsure if his accusers intend to pursue charges in court. There will be a changing of the guard in the District Attorney’s office. Former Assistant D.A. Jeff Cheney easily defeated incumbent Sherry Caloia in November and will be sworn in tomorrow at noon at the Garfield County Courthouse as the new 9th Judicial District Attorney.
HOLIDAY DUI ARRESTS DOWN
Statewide—Fewer people were busted for driving drunk or stoned over the New Year’s weekend in Colorado. According to C-DOT and the Colorado State Patrol, 272 impaired drivers were arrested during the “Heat is On” campaign between December 30th and January 3rd. Last year, that total was close to 400. During the 12 DUI enforcement campaigns in 2016, 7,272 drivers were busted around the state. According to C-DOT, a first time arrest for driving drunk or stoned can cost over 13 thousand dollars in fines, legal fees and insurance. Repeat offenders pay a lot more.
AFFORDABLE HOUSING GOING ‘TINY’ IN ASPEN
Aspen—In Aspen, the words, “affordable housing” are mutually exclusive. The Aspen Skiing Company is trying to solve that dilemma for some of it’s seasonal employees with six new homes. The catch is, they’re only 500 square feet. SkiCo needs about 600 beds for it’s employees and is experimenting with the dinky dwellings before buying more next year. Project manager Phillip Jeffreys was hired by SkiCo last summer to find affordable housing solutions. After doing some research, he got the green light to buy a half-dozen houses from a company in La Junta, appropriately named, “Sprout Tiny Homes.” Each home costs $100,000.00 and has been set up at the Aspen/Basalt Campground with sewer, water and electricity. Jeffreys says if this proves to be a success, he’ll buy more tiny homes before next ski season.